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Julia Donaldson's Zog receives stage premiere at Rose Theatre Kingston prior to UK Tour

Zog book cover

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FRECKLE Productions and Rose Theatre Kingston have announced the world premiere stage adaptation of Zog. Based on the book by Julia Donaldson with illustrations by Axel Scheffler, it premieres at the Rose Theatre Kingston from Thursday, February 14 to Saturday, February 23, 2019, prior to a UK Tour.

Large in size, and keen in nature, Zog is eager to win a golden star at Madam Dragon’s school, where dragons learn all the things that dragons need to know. Zog tries so very hard, perhaps too hard, and he bumps, burns and roars his way through years one, two and three.

Luckily, the plucky Princess Pearl patches him up ready to face his biggest challenge yet…a duel with a knight, Sir Gadabout the Great!

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s much-loved Zog is adapted and directed by Mike Shepherd (founder and Artistic Director of Kneehigh) with an original folk score by Johnny Flynn (award-winning actor and singer-songwriter with The Sussex Wit) played live on stage. It is designed by Katie Sykes (Jane Eyre at the National Theatre).

Zog is produced by Freckle Productions and Rose Theatre Kingston. Freckle Productions’ most recent show, Tabby McTat, is an adaptation of the book by Julia Donaldson and follows their acclaimed productions of Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales and Stick Man.

Rose Theatre Kingston’s other forthcoming family productions include a brand-new staging of The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss featuring original new songs, and for Christmas a magical new adaptation of Hansel & Gretel.

Julia Donaldson said: “I’m tremendously excited that Zog will be taking flight around the UK in this first ever stage production. Going to the theatre can be a truly magical experience, I know it will be such a thrill to see the world of Zog being brought to life on stage.”

Jay Green and Jen Sutherland of Freckle Productions said: “Freckle has a proud and longstanding association with Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler having adapted many of their wonderful books. We are delighted to now be partnering with Rose Theatre Kingston to bring Zog to the stage, in what will be a hugely exciting and imaginative adaptation by Mike Shepherd, with thrilling original music by Johnny Flynn.”

Jerry Gunn of Rose Theatre Kingston said: “Rose Theatre Kingston are thrilled to be welcoming Zog the dragon and his classmates to the stage for the very first time. Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s wonderful creations have long been delighting children here in Kingston and across the country. We’ll have fire extinguishers at the ready for an adventure that promises to delight young children and their families alike.”

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler are the UK’s number one picture book pair and are creators of many modern classics, including The Gruffalo, now in 75 languages.

Zog was first published in 2010 and won the Galaxy National Children’s Book of the Year Award. It has gone on to become a perennial bestseller. For Christmas 2018, Magic Light Pictures will premiere an animated film of Zog on BBC One featuring an all-star cast, following their award-winning films such as The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom and Stick Man.

Zog is suitable for children and families of all ages. Casting and further tour dates to be announced.

Zog will tour to Harrogate, Carlisle, Milton Keynes, High Wycombe, Ipswich, Durham, Sheffield, Chester, Guildford, Swindon, Cambridge, St Albans, Birmingham, Hull, Cardiff, Dartford, Shrewsbury, Newcastle, Darlington, Corby, Warwick, Nottingham, Basingstoke, Oxford, Malvern, Salford, Radlett, Northampton, Belfast, Leicester, Inverness, Aberdeen, Reading, Swansea and Bradford.